Ping debuts Rapture driving iron prototype

Ping's new Rapture driving iron.

Ping's new Rapture driving iron.

Ping staff players competing in the 2013 Open Championship, as well as those playing at the PGA Tour's Sanderson Farms Championship, will have a chance to try a new 17-degree, prototype driving iron called the Rapture.

The Rapture features a flat, thin face made from 17-04 Carpenter stainless steel. By making the face flat – instead of having curvature either from toe-to-heel or sole-to-crown like those faces found in fairway woods and many hybrids – Ping's designers made sure that the club should give accomplished players the ability to work the ball effectively off the tee, like an iron.

The company says that high-density tungsten weights, which account for 20 percent of the head's overall weight, have been positioned low and back on the perimeter to increase the moment of inertia, lower the center of gravity and help create a flatter ball flight that should work well in windy conditions.

To ensure that the Rapture driving iron's swing weight can he properly tuned to each player's needs, Ping has designed a tungsten-polymer sole plug in the bottom of the head.

The timing of the release is clearly no accident. Numerous players pull out their hybrid clubs every year when they compete in the Open Championship because hybrids tend to create high-launching shots that don't work effectively on windswept links courses. Driving irons, 2-irons, and even 1-irons are not uncommon at Open Championships because they produce shots that stay under the wind and create a lot of roll on fairways.

Because the club is still in the prototype phase, it does not officially have a stock shaft, retail price or release date – but don't be surprised if it hits pro shop shelves in 2014.

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